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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Augmented Reality books and being named a Sexy? Scientist

I remember a lot of my dreams.  Recently I had one where I was buying mascara.  It was a good, practical dream that did not require me to shake off any weirdness upon waking.  And the nice thing is I can make it come true one day soon!

One memorable dream involved one of my former students as a matured scientist who wanted to show me his discovery before he showed anyone else.  In a darkened room, so the technology could be seen best, he opened an 8 x 11" envelope, reached in and made the motion to remove a piece of transparent, well, something.  It looked like he was holding nothing, but suddenly in glowing green and blue, up came a 3D hologram of a molecule (somewhere in size between a softball and basketball).  He seemed quite proud.  I was in awe of both the technology and of the molecule, which seemed to be of great significance.

After the article came out in the local paper about my video reviews of science books, I was contacted by Dr. Alan Craig here at the U of I who is working on a pretty neat project called augmented reality books.  He directed me to his website, and right there was an image of a hologram hovering over a regular print book. I was struck by how much this reminded me of my dream.  Dr. Craig invited me to come see his work.  With a camera and some software (i.e. your cell phone) and some code imprinted on a page of a book, one can see a 3D representation of just about anything. This video shows some work by the team in New Zealand he is collaborating with.  Amazing Stuff!

ScienceCheerleader and I are following each other in Twitter...hard to say who started following who first, but she likes what I'm doing and I like what she is doing (science outreach).  You can check out her site and see her collection of cheerleaders dispensing scientific information, among other clever items. She flattered me by asking if she could put me on her Sexy Scientists and Engineers page. I'm trying not to giggle as I write this.  Some days I find it tricky to reconcile sexy and science as well as the fact I could embody this in any fashion, especially while IN the lab and maintaining a professional tone (why do I hear some of you laugh? OK, the lab is a little bit less than professional, but not sexy, more like goofy!). Many of the gals are shown in their super cute cheerleading outfits.  While there are in existence many, many swimsuit photos of me, you will not be seeing them on this site, EVER.  Except the one of me in the Miss Guam World contest...you'll have to go mine for that one if you didn't run across it already.

Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

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